Last week, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member on the House Intel Committee, released the transcripts of the testimony of several FBI and DOJ officials in relation to the Trump-Russia probe.
Among those was the testimony of FBI lawyer, Trisha Anderson, who signed off on the Carter Page warrants. She testified in August, 2018.
Anderson pointed how how unusual the handling of this case was because people at the highest levels were involved even before it came to her.
From Washington Examiner:
But Anderson stressed “in this particular case, I’m drawing a distinction because my boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application.” She emphasized “this one was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”
Normally, it would go to her for legal review before it went up the chain of command. But they skipped all the normal checks and balances.
And because the higher-ups were involved even before she was, she knew she was supposed to approve it because people like the Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wanted it.
Anderson said that FISA approvals are typically “tracked in a linear fashion” and that someone in the Senior Executive Service “is the final approver on hard copy before a FISA goes to the director or deputy director for signature.” She said the Page FISA was approved outside regular procedures.
“Because there were very high-level discussions that occurred about the FISA,” Anderson said she believed that meant “the FISA essentially had already been well-vetted all the way up through at least the Deputy Director [McCabe] level on our side and through the DAG [Yates] on the DOJ side.” Yates had already signed the application by the time it made it to Anderson’s desk.
Anderson testified it was not normal to skip that step and it made her approval “purely administrative” at that point.
She also testified that the General Counsel James Baker was personally involved.
“The General Counsel [Jim Baker] … personally reviewed and made edits to the FISA, for example,” Anderson said. “The Deputy Director was involved in reviewing the FISA line by line. The Deputy Attorney General over on the DOJ side of the street was similarly involved, as I understood, reviewing the FISA application line by line.”
As Redstate notes, what this does is puts all those folks who signed and/or were involved personally – James Comey, Sally Yates, Andrew McCabe and James Baker – personally on the hook for any procedures that may have been ignored and any problems that come from faults within the FISA warrant applications.
This may explain why Comey has been melting down of late, going on a media tour, trying to burnish up his image and justify his actions.